Review: Blueprints

Being an architect must be an incredible job, knowing that your vision and hard work has created a lasting mark on the planet in a fusion of glass, metal and stone. Not all of us can be architects however, that would be ridiculous; so we’re left with only dreams of one day erecting a masterful tower or sleek luxury hotel. Well dream no longer sweet reader, now you can create a lasting mark on your very own dinner table with Blueprints

Designer: Yves Tourigny
• Publisher: Z-Man Games
Number of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 30 mins


Blueprints is a game about constructing buildings and competing with your friends for prize cards that are worth various points. The player with the most points at the end of three rounds is the winner.

Play begins with each player being dealt a blueprint card, this shows one possible building that you can erect during this round. The blueprint serves as more of a guide, rather than a rule so it is up to you whether you follow the design or not as it may be more beneficial to chase the various prize cards on offer. I’ll explain those a bit more shortly.

After each player has received a blueprint, the materials market is formed by drawing several dice from a snazzy blue bag and rolling them. Each die represents a different building material: black is stone, orange is wood, green is recyclables and clear is glass. The pips shown on the die dictate how it can be placed. You can only place a die of equal or lower value on top of another, so sixes make great foundations but you don’t want to be leaving them lying around near the end of the game as they can wreck any chance you have of completing your plans. Once you have chosen a juicy die for your building you rummage in the snazzy blue bag for a replacement and roll it. Play then continues until each player has a six dice building.

Sounds simple right? That’s because, for the most part, it is. Blueprints is an excellent game to get people into the hobby of table top gaming. You can explain it in sixty seconds and it only takes around thirty minutes to play. It also serves as a good opener to a games night to get everyone in the mood before breaking out something with a little more depth. That isn’t to say Blueprints is without strategic value however and the prize cards are key to this.

Blueprints 2

These prize cards are awarded for a six dice tower, a “straight” of dice showing one through six, five dice of the same colour and five dice of the same value. There is also a separate scoring track for the materials you have used to construct your building that rewards players with a gold, silver or bronze prize card. (Sticking to your blueprint gives you a bonus on this track.) This presents players with an interesting strategic choice to make, do you play for high scoring material placement to get that gold card? Or do you forgo the points track entirely and try and get one or two of the other prizes?

Do you see how elegant this design is? A small set of simple mechanics with a significant amount of player choice and goals. It is a great distillation of the table top hobby.

What adds to this, is that the buildings are hidden behind screens. This element of the unknown keeps the game interesting for experienced players as they try and suss out each other’s plays and potentially sabotage them. Similarly this also creates tense moments as you nervously watch each player’s turn before one of them inevitably grabs that piece of glass you really REALLY needed. The bastard.

The biggest problem with Blueprints for new players is that each colour of die scores differently, glass scores based on the pips showing, stone is worth more the higher up it is, wood is worth more for each die adjacent to it and recyclables increase in value the more of them you have. This can be tricky for players new to board games to grasp initially and it does mean that each round of Blueprints ends in maths. This may be off putting to some.

Plays quickly & easy to learn
Great gateway game
Interesting use of familiar components
Convoluted scoring ensures each round ends in maths

Convoluted scoring system aside, Blue prints is an excellent light board game that takes familiar components and uses them in an unusual and fun way. This especially ensures Blueprints works perfectly as an opener for a games night or to get new people in to the hobby. A decent amount of strategic depth and a fast playing time cement this as a must buy.

The review copy of this title was purchased by the author.
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